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War Is Not a Game
The New Antiwar Soldiers and the Movement They Built
Nan Levinson (Author)
288 pages, 6-1/8 x 9-1/4
Series: War Culture
American Studies, Current Affairs, General Interest
Named an Outstanding Title in the 2015 edition of the AAUP University Press Books for Public and Secondary School Libraries
On July 23, 2004, five marines, two soldiers, and one airman became the most unlikely of antiwar activists. Young and gung-ho when they first signed up to defend their country, they were sent to fight a war that left them confused, enraged, and haunted. Once they returned home, they became determined to put their disillusionment to use. So that sultry summer evening, they mounted the stage of Boston’s historic Faneuil Hall and announced the launch of Iraq Veterans Against the War.
War Is Not a Game tells the story of this new soldiers’ antiwar movement, showing why it was born, how it quickly grew, where it has struggled, what it accomplished, and how it continues to resonate in the national conversation about our military and our wars. Nan Levinson reveals the individuals behind the movement, painting an unforgettable portrait of these working-class veterans who refused to be seen as simply tragic victims or battlefront heroes and instead banded together to become leaders of a national organization.
Written with sensitivity and humor, War Is Not a Game gives readers an uncensored, grunt’s-eye view of the occupations in Iraq and Afghanistan, while conveying the equally dramatic struggles that soldiers face upon returning home. Demanding to be seen neither simply as tragic victims nor as battlefront heroes, the Iraq Veterans Against the War have worked to shape the national conversation. This book celebrates their bravery, showing that sometimes the most vital battles take place on the home front.
"Despite a long history of veterans, soldiers and military families opposing war, the public perception is that those who fight in wars keep believing in them and war-making in general. Nan Levinson helps dispel that false assumption with her sympathetic and perceptive analysis of the formation and first few years of Iraq Veterans Against the War."
"What a superb book! Well, I’ll call it a masterpiece. Nan Levinson has done us all a service by writing this excellent book."
—Veterans for Peace
"Those affected by war and in a moral game of throes are the subjects of this rare, compassionate and informative narrative about people who 'never came close to stopping the army from doing what it wanted' in the last decade but 'caused people in the army to stop and reconsider.'"
"A valuable contribution to the growing literature on antiwar opposition within the Iraq-era military … Levinson's study confirms that even within an all-volunteer force, antiwar dissent is possible."
—Peace & Change
“Nan Levinson has brought to life an important piece of recent history, both tragic and inspiring, told the story beautifully, and found some genuine American heroes.”
—Adam Hochschild, author of To End All Wars: A Story of Loyalty and Rebellion, 1914-1918
"This is the powerful—and hitherto buried—story of the professional soldiers who made a movement that still shakes the very foundations of America’s unending wars."
—H. Bruce Franklin, author of Vietnam and Other American Fantasies
"What does 'support our troops' really mean? It means listening to them when they have unpleasant truths to tell about America's wars. Levinson truly listens; so should we all."
—William J. Astore, Lt Col, USAF, Ret., author of Hindenburg: Icon of German Militarism
"War Is Not a Game dramatically underscores the folly of war, serving as a reminder of the physical and emotional costs of war to those directly involved on the 'killing fields' and their families.”
—Ann Wright, US Army Reserve Colonel, US diplomat who resigned in 2003 in opposition to the Iraq War
Author / Editor Bio
NAN LEVINSON is a writer and journalist, covering civil and human rights, culture, and technology. Her last book, Outspoken: Free Speech Stories, grew from her reporting as the U.S. correspondent for Index on Censorship. She currently teaches journalism and fiction writing at Tufts University, in Medford, Massachusetts.
Table Of Contents
Prologue: War Is Not a Game
1 Maimed for Bullshit (with Gallantry on the Side)
2 Boots on the Ground
3 Exit a Free Man
4 Home Fires Burning
5 What Noble Cause
6 One Paragraph In
7 We’ll Bring ’Em On
8 Art Heart Dream Peace
10 Mad Bad Sad
11 Winter Soldiers’ Stories